No Signboard Seafood
We tried Jumbo's chile (I know they spell it chili, but I'm trying to be consistent) crab during our last visit, so this time 'round, pepper crab, a close competitor for Singapore classic status, was a must. I already had my sights set on No Signboard, and the Esplanade location, too. Not because its the new, classy branch, but primarily because it is centrally located. My plans were cemented when Jamess coworker, Alvin, who lives in Singapore, said hed show us around Friday night. When we mentioned pepper crab, he immediately suggested No Signboard. It was a go.
I had anticipated ordering the aforementioned pepper crab, cereal prawns that I'd heard about and sambal kankung. But Alvin was a total enabler (hes a sales guy and you can tell hes experienced at wining and dining clients–most interestingly, he doesnt seem to drink) and encouraged ordering practically everything we showed an interest in. We went wild and had small crabs prepared both ways: chile and white pepper with fried mantou on the side. James preferred the dry spice of the pepper crabs, while I'm still sticking with the original sweet, hot, sour and soupy rendition. Ill admit the dish is a peculiar invention, considering it contains ketchup and scrambled eggs, a gruesome twosome if there ever were one.
The cereal prawns were sweet and crunchy, possibly honeyed and rolled in oats, which I hadnt imagined. For some reason, I was envisioning Rice Krispies. At Alvins suggestion we had seafood served in a lacy yam (taro) basket, and if that werent enough we also had a little something called you tiao salad, which was most definitely not my idea. You tiao, I like, theyre fried dough sticks, Chinese crullers. It's the salad component thats tricky. If something says salad in S.E. Asia, in my experience that means mayonnaise. I'm guessing it has something to do with British ties and their fondness for salad cream. So, you tiao salad was fried bean curd wrapped crullers with a side of mayo for dipping. Eek.
There was food and Tiger Beer a plenty, and only the beginning. Luckily, it ended up expensed as a business dinner. As a librarian, its fair to say that I dont experience many expense account meals, free Monday morning bagels are as good as it gets. We (well, I) continued on with chendol at a nearby food court, then we headed up for drinks and a 70-story panorama at City View, the cigar bar atop the Swissotel, which wasnt terribly trendy but still commanded a cover charge and wait for seating (lists, waits, entry fees were rampant. I guess the same is true in NYC, I just don't frequent those places).
No Signboard Seafood * 8 Raffles Ave., Singapore